Teaching tip: Consider every possible resource
Perhaps if I had added, explicitly, in bold letters, with underlining and a Post-It note and bright yellow highlighting, “He would have died!,” maybe the reader of this letter would have paid attention. Maybe if the public administrator, lawyer, or judge seated far away in some city office building had really understood what was happening to this sweet boy in a small town, this letter would have served Bryan better?
The remaining narrative describes the final months of the school year – more urine-soaked clothes remaining in the backpack for a week, more hostility from Ms. Long, and the same, unconditional love from my students (despite wanting to pull my hair out every night). Ms. Long was happy to share that the adoption proceedings were moving along nicely; I was happy to not congratulate her.
In April, an abscess on Bryan’s foot (caused by shoes that were too small) grew
infected and needed medical attention. We fought apathy and then many choice
words from the Long family before Ms. Stanton and her agency finally demanded
that they take Bryan to the doctor. The night that I learned that Bryan’s foot
was finally receiving attention, I began to write this letter. In narrating the
previous events, I hoped – based on what I had learned from CASA – to put
Bryan’s story in the hands of his guardian ad litem (a court-appointed,
tax-dollar funded attorney who serves a similar role to the CASA in that he/she
is responsible for speaking for Bryan in court).
Eager to have reasoned opinion and the law on Bryan’s side (as if any more reasoning ought to be necessary), I concluded my letter with two sections. First, I cited state law and policy related to children in foster care.